I so enjoy days like today. A casual mental to-do list, nothing actually written down. Everyday tasks, nothing too strenuous or demanding. Flexible, for the most part, on timing. This is what my day thus far has been. Early, before nine, I went outside (brisk is how I would describe the temperature - maybe around 40), with camera in hand. I am participating in a challenge to post a nature photograph for seven days in a row. I am doing this in my writing group, so there is also a meager attempt at writing being done as well. The writing group is focused on mindfulness and encourages us to not just observe, but learn, from everything around us. I see this as an opportunity to see the beauty and unique qualities of all that my five senses encounter. In turn, this is beneficial not just in my writing but my personal path. These are the three pictures I took this morning:
The remainder of the morning I spent finishing up the weekly laundry, straightening the kitchen a bit, and gathering the trash for a quick run to the dump. By noon all of my tasks were out of the way.
When I was in town yesterday running errands, I bought a container of fresh strawberries. I decided a cake would be fine to have with them, and said cake is on the oven right now. Hence these next three pictures:
I make 1-2-3-4 Cake. This has got to be the easiest basic cake recipe in the world. My grandmother Ethel Slade made this recipe constantly, as did Mom. It was the first cake I ever baked. You can use a tube pan, a bundt pan, make cupcakes, or bake it in a 9x13 dish as I did here. I have made it so many times I do not even use the written recipe anymore. I just set out the butter (1 cup) and eggs (4) and make it from memory. After the butter (I use salted butter - if you use unsalted you will need to add 1 teaspoon of salt with the baking powder to the flour) has softened and the eggs have come to room temperature, I prepare the baking vessel by greasing and flouring it (I use the butter wrappers for the greasing step - waste not want not). Measure out in advance 2 cups of white sugar, 3 cups of flour which has had 1 teaspoon of baking powder stirred into it & 1 cup of milk which I add the flavoring to - since I have fresh strawberries, I wanted a bright flavor so I added a teaspoon each of vanilla and lemon extracts. Whip the butter until it is fluffy and pale. Add the sugar slowly and beat until it is fully incorporated into the butter. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after you add each one. Stir in the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. (I add about a cup of flour, then 1/2 of the milk, another cup of flour, the rest of the milk, then the remaining flour) Pour into the prepared pan and bake until brown and tests done in the center. This is about an hour in a bundt pan and maybe 50 minutes in a 9x13. After the cake has cooled you can frost, glaze or serve with fruit.
So the cake is baked, the laundry is finished, the trash is at the dump, and I am really enjoying my Friday. I sincerely hope yours was good as well.
~Ellen Apple 03/18/2016